Books

This year marked the 104th year of the Pulitzer Prizes, an awards series for journalism, letters, drama and education, among other things, created by Joseph Pulitzer in the early 20th century. The first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize was Edith Wharton in 1921, who won the “Novel Prize” for her classic book, “The Age of Innocence.” Since then, dozens of incredible women have been awarded with these prestigious prizes from Anne Sexton, to Harper Lee, to Toni Morrison. For the 2020 Prizes, 5 individual women...
Dr Space Junk vs The Universe: Archaeology and the FutureBy Alice Gorman(The MIT Press)     Popularly known as Dr. Space Junk, Australian scientist Alice Gorman has made an unlikely career out of space archaeology. And in this wide-ranging book, she offers a detailed history of space exploration alongside informed reflections on the way humans have made space meaningful. While technical passages sometimes cause the book to drag, scattered among these more academic sections are unexpected moments of whimsy and wit, including a feminist interpretation of Elon...
MORE MYSELF: A JourneyAlicia Keys (Macmillan) In her memoir, More Myself: A Journey, Alicia Keys asks two important questions: “Who am I really? And, as I discover my true essence, am I brave enough to stand in that truth?” These questions are the heartbeat of the story, Keys narrates. It follows her as she grows from a young artist into a best-selling musician and global activist. Despite the professional and personal heights she attains, she continues to ask, “Who am I really?” Gradually, she discovers that the answer...
THE TONI MORRISON BOOK CLUB By Juda Bennett, Winnifred Brown-Glaude, Cassandra Jackson, and Piper Kendrix Williams(University of Wisconsin Press) The Toni Morrison Book Club is presented as a memoir, but not your typical one: it’s written by four people. The group of authors, all English professors, initially bonded over their mutual admiration for Morrison, and decided to embark on the journey of telling their own stories—through hers. From love to parenthood to fetishization, each writer shares a “secret” that relates to the themes in one...
Hitting A Straight Lick With A Crooked Stick: Stories By Zora Neale Hurston(Amistad)      No matter your level of familiarity with Zora Neale Hurston’s writing, this posthumous collection of her stories—including eight that have never before been published—is a treat. Hitting A Straight Lick With A Crooked Stick places Hurston’s most famous stories, including Spunk and Muttsy, alongside previously hidden gems like A Bit of Harlem.  Hurston famously set most of her stories and novels in her hometown of Eatonville, FL, but this book expands her territory....
Social distancing and being in lockdown can make it feel like you've exhausted your entertainment options. And while binge-watching may be at an all time high, what about binge-reading? Books will always be trusted source of enjoyment for all ages, and a growing number of celebrities are taking to social media to entertain and educate their fans who can't make it to the library right now. Recent programs such as @savewithstories and @voiceactorsread, which feature the vocal talents behind some beloved animated characters, have collaborated...
Founded in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, National Poetry Month has been celebrated each April to honor the power of this particular form of literature. The ability to express the human condition is a unique skills and poets throughout the ages have managed to make us feel seen and heard. Perhaps now more than we have in some time, are turning to the arts as a source of solace. Whether it’s to draw inspiration or to step outside of our own mindsets, the written...
These three autobiographies, all reviewed in our Spring 2020 print issue, are all anyone is talking about.   IN THE DREAM HOUSE: A MemoirBy Carmen Maria Machado(Graywolf Press) Carmen Maria Machado’s riveting memoir detailing her frightening, abusive relationship with another woman while in graduate school is told in fragments. Telling this story in pieces makes sense since traumatic memories usually come back as painful shards rather than one cohesive whole. Inventively written, the style changes with each vignette—sometimes the memory is a fairytale, sometimes its erotica. These genre...
In a time where the world seems like it’s perpetually on fire, Cameron Esposito has some advice: save yourself.  That’s the title of the comedian’s new memoir — literally, Save Yourself. Maybe that sounds a bit harsh, but after her title pulls you in, her story reveals just exactly what she means. Cameron didn’t grow up knowing she’d be a comedian, an actor, a writer or that she’s gay. Instead, she recalls being cross-eyed and awkward, wearing an eyepatch over her glasses, and growing up very,...
DAYS OF DISTRACTION: A NOVEL By Alexandra Chang(Ecco) In this beautiful, urgent, “coming-of-adulthood” novel, author Alexandra Chang redefines the concept of distraction. Her main character, also named Alexandra, is stuck at an underpaying tech-reporter job in San Francisco and unsure of her position, so she delves into the details of what constitutes a life, even though so much still lies ahead. A story-driven inquiry into issues of race, technology, family, loss, success, and love ensues as she follows her long-term boyfriend, J, from the West...
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